So I was checking out available Aussie puppies and came across what appeared to be a legitimate website with adorable photos of available puppies and detailed descriptions of their personalities, age, and a complete list of the guarantees that came with them, including health and AKC certificate. I selected the puppy that really caught my attention – so sweet – her name was “Sandra”, a new page comes up with more details on “Sandra” – all the information any interested buyer would like to know before purchasing; so by curiosity I clicked “Buy Now” and a contact form came up, which also looked legit, name, address, email, phone number. In reply I received a text, also appearing ok, and an email with a nice group of photos of the puppy and 3 adorable videos of “Sandra”. As I asked more questions, the replies I started to get were not attentive to my specific questions – and this is when I became suspicious of this “Nad’s Aussie” business and started investigating. I know, I should have been more careful on the get go, but Oh! those puppy pictures just caught me off guard.
So Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m here to share from my falling for a trap to hopefully help others avoid traps too.
Before you think, “Oh, I would have never, …. ” please be aware that the traps come in all forms, shapes, colors, and enticements. Like the devil it counterfeits the legit and preys on our vulnerabilities.
Also to do my part – I reported this puppy scam to the Federal Trade Commission, and have been doing more research on detecting fraud and scams. I will continue to share information that may be helpful to protect your security as well.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION website, includes these tips on how to avoid fraud:
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead.
- Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
- Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loanoffers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
- Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.